beirut: stereo kitchen restaurant opening

© paul kaloustian / photography: joe kesrouani

it may not be able to rival dubai's superlatives and accolades, but then again beirut doesn't need to. the lebanese capital still is the middle east's most sophisticated city, and continues to distinguish itself with edgy contemporary lifestyle options that can be found nowhere else in the region. savvy and with an international focus, joseph mourani is a beiruti entrepreneur with a knack for modern, conceptual hospitality. originally trained as a civil engineer in montreal, mourani made an indelible mark in the local nightlife scene a few years ago when he opened myu, a sleek restaurant and bar in the gemmayzeh neighbourhood.

his tech background has clearly influenced the design of choice for the aforementioned venue, and now mourani has once again collaborated with acclaimed lebanese architect paul kaloustian for an even bigger project called stereo kitchen. located just a few blocks away from myu, perched on top of a 1960s office building with sweeping views of the city and harbour, stereo kitchen is like a grand extrapolation of the former. both a bar and a restaurant, the establishment occupies 500 sqm. [5,382 sq.ft.] of a pavilion-like space, featuring a minimalist palette of glass, steel and concrete. a metal cantilevered structure has been added to cover the entire roof and reinforce the visual effect of the special ceiling and lighting design of perforated metal by renowned beirut-based practice .pslab.

the circular-shaped pavilion is encased in glass, while the remaining space on the rectangular rooftop serves as a terrace. inside the pavilion, the space has a concentric configuration - divided by low concrete walls mounted with elegant round-shaped tables - with the dining area situated at the core. stereo kitchen's bar occupies a mere section of the outer ring. kaloustian designed all of the furnishings, except the dining chairs which are concoctions of naoto fukusawa. similar to the upscale feel of the concept, the restaurant's menu features a range of international dishes, all prepared with a modern twist. the same focus applies to the wine list while cocktails and other beverages are readily available as well. location: rue al azar [gemmayzeh].

© paul kaloustian / photography: joe kesrouani